Westchester Mom Charged With Strangling 18-Year-Old Daughter

38-year-old woman then tried to kill herself, prosecutors say

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    Siede Preis
    The details of the argument aren't clear.

    A woman accused of strangling her daughter on a suburban college campus told police she did it because the daughter was "disrespectful all the time,'' according to court papers made public Thursday.

    In police accounts filed with a murder indictment, Stacey Pagli, 38, is quoted as saying her daughter Marissa had "pushed my last button.'' She said she told her daughter, "Don't ever speak to me like that. This will be the last time you speak to me like that," the documents say.

    The documents are police accounts of recorded interviews at White Plains Hospital and police headquarters in the two days after Marissa Pagli was found dead in the family's staff apartment at Manhattanville College in Purchase. Marissa was a freshman at the school and her father, John Pagli, was a maintenance supervisor.

    On Feb. 22, Stacey Pagli returned to her apartment in the faculty housing area on campus after dropping her 3-year-old off at daycare and almost immediately began arguing with Marissa, prosecutors say.

    The argument turned physical, and Pagli choked Marissa to death, according to the indictment unsealed Thursday morning. After allegedly murdering her daughter, Pagli attempted to kill herself – first by cutting her left wrist and then by hanging herself on a doorknob, the indictment reads. When Pagli's husband, John, came home just after noon, he found his unconscious wife and dead daughter and called the cops.

    Emergency personnel tried to revive Marissa to no avail. They did, however, save Pagli, who was taken to a local hospital. Cops arrested Pagli after she made statements implicating herself in the crime.

    She said she killed her daughter and tried to kill herself because they were "too much baggage" for her husband, the papers say. "Me and Marissa, we ruined his life," the mother is quoted as saying, without elaborating.       

    In the police accounts, Pagli says of the suicide attempt, "It didn't work because I'm still here.'' Of the cuts on her wrist, she is quoted as saying, "I guess they weren't deep enough.''

    When police asked what prompted Marissa to be disrespectful on the day she died, her mother said, "I asked her where she was going,'' the police account says.

    Pagli also expressed regret, saying, "I wish I could take it back, but I can't. I can't make it better, she's not here anymore,'' according to the police account.       

    She asked officers to tell her husband and their surviving 3 year-old daughter, Gianna, "I did love them. ... I'm so sorry.''

    Pagli's lawyer, Allan Focarile, would not comment on the indictment or the conversations.

    Pagli faces second-degree murder charges in connection with Marissa's killing. If convicted, she faces 25 years to life in state prison.